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Electric Furnace Failure? Proactive Steps Homeowners Can Take While Waiting For Repairs

Construction & Contractors Articles

Whether it is coming home to a cold house after work or waking up shivering in the middle of the night, furnace failures can create conditions that range from unpleasant to unsafe, depending on other factors, such as exterior temperatures and the amount of insulation your home offers. If you experience a furnace failure this winter, the following guide can help you take proactive steps to relieve the discomfort of the situation.

Troubleshoot for Easy Fixes

Like other electrical appliances, furnaces can cease to function properly for a number of reasons, some of which are simple fixes, including the following:

  • Check the fuse panel to ensure that the breaker that controls power to the furnace is still in the "ON" position
  • Try replacing the battery with a fresh one (signs of battery failure can include a battery icon on the display or a blank display, depending on the manufacturer) if your thermostat is digital
  • Check the thermostat settings to ensure that they have not been altered or turned off

If the above steps are not helpful in restarting the furnace, it is possible that the furnace blower motor may have overheated or malfunctioned and shut down as a protective measure. To check this possibility, you will need to locate the reset button and use it to restart the system.

Refer to your owner's manual to determine how to access the reset button on your particular furnace. If you do not have an owner's manual for your furnace, this generic information may help you locate it. In any case, remember to turn the electrical panel breaker to the "OFF" position before attempting to open any access panels on your furnace.

Keeping Your Family & Pets Warm until the Furnace is Repaired

If you are unable to find the problem and reactivate your furnace within a short time, you will need to call a reputable furnace repair company to schedule repairs. While you wait for the repairs to be made, you can use these tips to help keep family members safe and warm.

Monitor Interior Temperatures Carefully                   

If your home is well insulated and the exterior weather conditions are not abnormally cold, it may be possible to remain in your home comfortably for several hours while the furnace is being repaired. To do this safely, however, you will need to monitor interior temperatures carefully and be prepared to leave the home and go stay with a neighbor or relative if the temperatures become uncomfortably cold.  

If any of your family members are infants, elderly or suffering from a medical condition, it is best to get them to a warmer location as soon as you discover the furnace is not functioning, because their bodies may not be able to produce and regulate body heat sufficiently to prevent hypothermia in unheated spaces. To monitor indoor temperatures, check the digital display on your furnace at thirty-minute intervals to track the rate of heat loss.

Utilize Alternate Heat

As soon as you determine that the furnace is not functioning, instruct all family members to dress warmly. This is best done in layers, covering as much of the body surface as possible, including the head, hands and feet.

Assemble all people and pets into a room that can be shut off from the rest of the home with doors or by hanging blankets over open doorways and windows to minimize heat loss. Place a folded blanket or quilt on the floor for dogs or cats and cover them with a light towel or blanket if they need additional heat. Once the doors and windows are covered, you may be able to keep this room warm enough to be safe and comfortable by using a small portable electric heater or even by cooking food in the oven.

Once the furnace repair has been made and you are certain it is functioning properly, let the furnace warm the home for at least a half-hour before allowing family members to resume their normal activities. For more information, contact a business such as Hayes Heating & Cooling.

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23 December 2015